Cuauhtémoc Q. Kish – San Diego, California, USA
People are always asking me why I became a fabric artist and the short answer is because I enjoy the medium. I take great pleasure in quilting and working with fabric.
Additionally I love the challenge of capturing an image or an idea and then reducing it to a singular fabric canvas.
Having been a writer (theatre critic, playwright, et. al.) I was accustomed to writing pages upon pages to tell my story and/or inform the reader, but with fabric art I discovered I could do this with one single ‘page’ of fabric.
My art is both abstract as well as representational, principally utilizing a fused appliqué technique. Fabric, metals, and other materials morph into form as I use my artist’s brush (a quilting needle) to execute my design.
I enjoy telling a story with my art or rendering a social commentary as I did with “Dance-floor; Orlando” about the recent massacre that killed 49 innocent victims in that Floridian city. I also enjoy interpreting nature as I am doing with my current series, “Canyons Of My Mind.”
This latest series resulted from a trip to Page, Arizona. It was in this vicinity where I discovered the famously epic sights of Antelope Canyon. I was mesmerized with the constantly changing colors that inhabit this glorious nature-scape. After reviewing my photos from this trip I knew I had to interpret these gorgeous slot canyons with my fabric art.
But now I’m ready to begin a new series and I’ll always invite you along for the artistic ride.
(Click images to enlarge)SAQA: When did you begin making art with fabric? Do you work in other media as well?
KISH: I began making art with fabric in 2012, after I had completed my first ever Sewing Fundamentals class at the West City Campus in San Diego, California. I knew little about quilting, and didn’t even know the definition of batting, free-motion, or binding. But I knew I wanted to follow this artistic path and release some of my pent-up creativity with a sewing needle.
SAQA: What inspires you?
KISH: I am inspired by anything that I encounter throughout my day. It might be something I observed while walking my dog in the park, or it could be a media photo, or simply an idea that just comes into my head. Periodically I review a file of clipped photos when determining my next project.
SAQA: Have any artists or art movements influenced your work?
KISH: Fabric artists the world over have influenced my work. The list of talented artists would include Kathy Nida, Mary Pal, Linda Anderson, Jim Hay, Alice Beasley, Hollis Chatelain and so many more.SAQA: What techniques and materials do you use?
KISH: The techniques that I incorporate in my work are principally fused appliqué and machine quilting. Currently I am experimenting with acrylic paints and pencils, but I’m not afraid to incorporate copper, string, and other embellishments to my fabric art.
SAQA: Where do you create?
KISH: My studio is limited to one dedicated room in the house that I use for cutting and sewing (my dog’s bedroom). I have extended this space by taking over book shelves that are currently used for fabric, closets that are filled with paints and quilting supplies, and even store completed pieces under my spouse’s bed.
SAQA: How do you reconcile the art-making and business sides of your creative life?
KISH: I continue to offer my work for sale through my website, and any personal means possible (handing out business cards, posting my work on Websites like SAQA, and entering shows). Luckily there is no pressure to sell since I am pensioned from another career. Otherwise I’d be on the street pushing a cart with quilting supplies.SAQA: Have you published books or been a guest on an art-related media program?
KISH: Since I began my career as a fabric artist in my latter years my principal focus is on creating my product. I have no interest in teaching or publishing, but I have started doing trunk shows which gives me great pleasure.
SAQA: What are you working on now? What’s next?
KISH: After interpreting photos into abstract art from a visit to Page, Arizona (Antelope Canyon), I am now excited about creating portraits with acrylic paints and pencil.
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